Whether you like group fitness or running solo through your neighborhood, the cool thing about exercising is all the opportunities you get to completely humiliate yourself. So it is with some trepidation I share my top ten ways to embarrass yourself whilst exercising. Because you know I’ve done all of these. Sigh. And because I love you all so much, I’ve included my tips for covering up your faux pas.
10. Snap yourself with a resistance band. (Jump ropes also work well for this and you get bonus points if you hit yourself in the face.)
How-To: Stand on the band while holding both handles. Next look down to check your feet positioning, just in time to see the band fly loose and smack you right between the eyes. Make sure to whip your head back, mutter a general purpose curse word and then try and pretend like it never happened – all while sporting a bright red hickey between your eyes.
Quick Fix: If you have to return to work immediately after, just pretend it was an eyebrow wax gone terribly wrong. Note: do not try to use “bikini wax” as an excuse. HR will not be amused.
9. Get stuck. Preferably in some equipment.
How-To: Pick a piece of equipment you have no idea how to use, walk confidently over to it and set it at max weight or speed. Now don’t be a wuss, if anyone offers you instruction, tersely wave them off. Jump on. Try not to scream as you are folded like an overstuffed burrito. If you need ideas, start here. Overachievers, you’ve got this baby.
Quick Fix: As soon as you have extricated yourself (assuming you can), mop the sweat off your face and say loudly, “Man, that was good! Good burn! Yeah!!” That way people will think you meant to do it.
8. Make funny faces, sex noises, or whimper while weight lifting.
How-to: This one’s easy. Just go with your gut. You know what they say – sing like nobody’s listening, dance like nobody’s watching (boring, much?) and lift like nobody else is present. Grunting and screaming are a little overdone. I recommend seizures. Or crying.
Quick Fix: Wear earphones – even if they aren’t attached to anything but your pocket lint. Then you can always pull them out and stage-whisper “Nobody told me Farewell to Arms ends like that!” You’ll be safe because anyone old enough to have read Hemingway and remember the ending (which is sad) will probably have dementia. Everyone else will just think you are sensitive and awesome. Or perverted, depending on exactly what noises you were making.
7. Fly off the treadmill.
How-To: One word – Zoomers. Mess this baby up and it’s the fastest route to becoming a human skid mark I know of. My other failsafe way to fall off the treadmill is to get into a really good conversation with Gym Buddy Allison who is on the treadmill next to me, slowly drift to one side of the ‘mill because I’m not looking forward and then – whammo – off I go.
Quick Fix: Stand up, throw up your arms and present to the judges. 10 points for blood.
6. Fart or otherwise smell bad.
How-To: So many methods, so little time. You may recall my laundry error that landed me in this boat but there are many roads to this same end. I encourage creativity. For you outdoorsy types stepping in dog poo at the beginning of your run is good. Make sure to get it all stuck in the tread on your trail runners. And if you need a how-to on farting then I’ll have to refer you to an expert. Please proceed directly to the nearest 12-year-old boy.
Quick Fix: The universally accepted method is to just pretend like you don’t smell anything. One step better is to stand in front of a fan and hope that it blows the scent away from you. Best? Spray on half a bottle of your favorite drug store perfume/cologne because everyone loves Charly as much as you do.
5. Wear inappropriate workout clothing.
How-To: I’ve covered this already but to sum up, be sure to wear your shortest, tightest and brightest outfits. Girls, you are aiming for a camel toe. Men, hammer pants are your best friend. And always show as much skin as possible.
Quick Fix: Ask yourself, “Would Madonna wear this?” If the answer is “yes” then take it off. Or invest in a really good friend who’ll tell you straight up. Last ditch effort, call your mom. We know things.
4. Douse yourself with your water bottle.
How-To: Take a big swig from your wide-necked environmentally-sound BPA-free water bottle. While running. This works best on a treadmill although I’ve seen people do it in outdoor races too. Extra points if it’s actually Propel in your bottle. See? Easy as falling off a log. Hey – that’s fun too!
Quick Fix: Just pretend you’re really sweaty. Which actually isn’t a fix unless you look like a supermodel. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to try and move to the treadmill in front of the fan or wait until the sun dries us off. Try not to think about how thirsty you now are.
3. Be a bad sport.
How-To: Have “a spot” in group fitness classes and smack anyone who comes into your personal space. Spit into drinking fountains. When somebody lifts more than you mutter, “Too bad I strained my shoulder of I’d totally whup you.” Never clap. Never smile. Don’t share. But nobody can explain this concept better than this guy. Watch him, in the Olympics, kick a ref in the head. Banned FOR LIFE from competing.
Quick Fix: Don’t be that guy. (Or girl.) Just don’t.
2. Sweat in funny places.
How-To: Wear a sweat-showing color like gray. Make sure your clothes are as tight as spandex-ly possible. Add a great cardio class or a super intense weight session and viola: sweat in places other than is generally considered socially acceptable like your pits, or chest if you’re a dude. I won’t detail all the embarassing places that sweat stains can appear – you know what your personal sweat-print looks like.
Quick Fix: Gym Buddy Allison has a clever technique. She wears two tank tops layered over one another. The bottom one picks up the sweat while the top one stays fresh and dry. My fix? Kick it up a notch and sweat so much that it all blends together into one big stinky mess. Which is probably why in all our pics, she’s the cute one and I look like a drowned rat.
1. Don’t you hate it when lists end on a funny number? Like nine??
How-To: Help me fill in the number 1 spot by telling me in the comments your best method of embarrassing yourself. Pictures will earn you my undying love.
Quick Fix: Telling people about your embarrassing moments make you seem witty and self-deprecating. They can’t laugh at you if you’re already laughing at yourself! Right?
Extra Credit: Synchronized Stretching
Didn’t get enough Olympics in your life? Start your own sport of synchronized stretching by picking someone on the stretching mats who is really working it out. Then sit down next to him or her, as close as possible without actually sitting on them, and proceed to do whatever they do. Be sure to make your movements graceful – toes pointed, arms fully extended, back straight. Feel free to throw in extra little flourishes like gestures, waves to the “judges” (who are probably peeing their pants laughing), and a bright toothy smile. Just don’t ruin it by telling your “partner” what you’re doing. Letting them discover is half the fun.